Fleetwood Town boss Steven Pressley says new signings Elliot Osborne and Matty Urwin will initially go into the development squad – but he urged both to force their way into his first-team plans.
Town swooped this month for midfielder Osborne (from Nantwich) and keeper Urwin (AFC Fylde), and manager Pressley hopes that Barry Nicholson’s development squad will nurture such talented non-league players and provide them with a pathway into the senior side.
Town’s academy has been granted category three status by the Premier League and can now provide elite coaching for players aged eight and upwards.
Pressley, who is reunited with his squad for the start of pre-season training today, believes it will take a number of years for the club to feel the full benefits of the academy but he said of the Osborne signing: “It was something (chief scout) Steve Davis and (technical director) Grétar Steinsson made possible.
“Elliot will initially come into the development squad. That squad is giving a real platform to propel players to the first team.
“In six or seven years’ time, we will start seeing the fruits (of our academy).
“But right now with the development squad, we have an opportunity to look at non-league and recruit young players with potential.
“Hopefully, with the right training, they will improve and come into the first-team squad.
“Matty is very much like Elliot in that he will initially come into the development squad to work with Barry and (goalkeeping coach) David Lucas.
“But anyone who comes into the club has to have some ambition and desire to make it into the first team.”
Urwin will also have a oaching role in the academy and Pressley says he will initially be behind new arrivals Chris Neal and Alex Cairns in the pecking order.
Pressley said: “Matty is a great character and he will also have a role coaching in the academy. He will initially be third-choice goalkeeper.
“Like Elliot, I want him to apply himself and push to get into the first-team squad.”